What to do with a BA/BS in MAthematics?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Dr. Gina, Feb 12, 2004.

  1. Dr. Gina

    Dr. Gina New Member

    Ok...this one is for my son now...What can you do with a BA/BS in Mathematics? This is what he wants to major in in college.
  2. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

  3. agilham

    agilham New Member

    Keep his GPA up, go and do a Masters in Financial Maths, then join Goldman Sachs and keep his mother in extreme comfort for a long and disreputable old age?

    Actuary, statistician, accountant, banker, engineer, computer scientist. You name it, he'll be able to do it. Maths is about the most employable degree on the planet.

    Hell, he could even teach if he wants to. I dunno what it's like in the US, but over here the shortage of maths teachers is such that they get golden handshakes if they enter a postgraduate teacher training programme.

  4. cbryant

    cbryant New Member

    It is also important what you put with the math degree. Usually with a math degree there are enough free electives that he could double major. In my case with my math degree I had 27 credit hours of computer science and was 9 hours away from a double major.

    Also, the BS in mathematics will probably have more "technical" type of math (stat's, differental equations, etc) however a BA in mathematice will typically better prepare one for graduate study and teaching (though either/or will be good prep work).


  5. GENO

    GENO New Member

    Amen - my son is a junior in mathematics at Carson Newman College in Tenn. - and there are a vast number of scholarships available in this field. A lot of people shy away from this major because of its daunting reputation, perhaps its due to the lack of more vigorous preparatory work in secondary schools. Encourage him, there already is a shortage of mathematicians.
  6. Tom57

    Tom57 Member

    I can speak from some experience here. I've done most of the following.

    In the US, you can be an actuary. (Google Society of Actuaries and you'll get their website.) Good money. Tough exams required. If your life is too exciting, this will cure it.

    There is a shortage of math teachers. Pay is miserable - at least in CA, but the work can be rewarding eventually.

    As Angela points out, the latest is financial mathematics. Also called financial engineering, computational finance, mathematics of finance etc. Masters degrees for this are cropping up everywhere (see Berkeley, Univ. of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU to name a few - many others, and UK too). Essentially these prepare you to be a "quant" for a financial services firm - doing math modeling, programming, risk management etc. The field is closing in on a glut, but with the market improving it should open up again.

    Go in to biostatistics or biomathematics and model disease, epidemiology etc. Interesting, but limited career options. Lots of graduate programs in this.

    Take plenty of courses that develop your writing, and go into technical writing or write math books. Many mathematicians are horrible writers. Someone needs to do the translation.

    Go to graduate school. Get a PhD and go into academia (tough) or go to Wall Street and be the boss of all the folks with MS's in financial engineering.

    Advice: if he wants to get a job out of undergraduate, take lots of probability, statistics, numerical analysis, and some computer science/programming courses, and less group theory, set theory, and advanced calculus.
  7. Alex

    Alex New Member

    Math is a great undergraduate major, in terms of giving you lots of flexibility in your career choices.

    My BA is in math. I considered most of the possibilities listed above, and ended up in graduate school. After a PhD in biology (with a quantitative bent), I ended up first as an assistant professor and traded that in about 2 years ago to take a job in epidemiology. At the present time there are excellent career opportunities in epidemiology, and the work is fascinating and very rewarding.

    My math classmates have lots of different jobs now, including actuarial, finance, business administration, IT work, and teaching.

  8. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    It's much the same around here Angela. Alternative routes to teacher certification were invented so that people with math backgrounds could enter the teaching field more easily. Typically, certified math teachers can work werever they wish (salaries conform to expected supply/demand schedules as well)
  9. drwetsch

    drwetsch New Member

    There is always law school.:)

  10. krazymack

    krazymack New Member

    Exactly, I majored in Computer Science for undergrad and I'm headed to law school, hopefully next year.

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